The National Transportation Safety Board determined today that the probable cause of the crash of a Beech King Air operated by Hendrick Motorsports in Stuart, Virginia was the flight crew's failure to properly execute the published instrument approach procedure. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the crew's failure to use all navigational aids to confirm and monitor the airplane's position during the approach. On October 24, 2004, a Beech King Air aircraft transporting eight passengers, including Hendrick Motorsports employees, and two flight crewmembers collided with mountainous terrain during a missed approach to Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport, Martinsville, Virginia. All 10 persons aboard the airplane died and the aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and a post crash fire.
The flight departed Concord Regional Airport, Concord, North Carolina, operating on instrument flight rules. Radar data shows that, after the plane was cleared for landing for a localizer runway 30 approach at Martinsville Airport, the plane did not descend at the proper point. About seven miles beyond the airport, the airplane initiated a straight- ahead climb. The airplane's radar target was lost.
The missed approach should have occurred over the Martinsville Airport by executing a climbing right turn. The airplane was not equipped with a ground proximity warning system.
"The approach and missed approach procedures provide for safe operation in instrument weather conditions," said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "It is imperative that pilots use all available navigational aids to ensure that the approach is properly flown." A synopsis of the report can be found on the Board's website.